Monday, June 13, 2011

Stupid Identities: Patch Logan

While there are some pretty cool secret identities floating around, there are times when comic book writers seem to stretch the boundaries of believability a bit. Case in point: Wolverine's stint as "Patch" in the beginnings of his first ongoing series.

During John Byrne's turn on the X-Men, he gave a lot of love to Wolverine (they were both Canadian) and soon created a breakout star. Any comic with him on the cover sold quickly, and then the time came to give Wolverine his own miniseries and eventually his own ongoing series.

Then the series came out and strange things began to happen. First, we lost the familiar costumed look everyone expected from the feral mutant tough guy. Instead of the mask and brown-and-tan or even yellow-and-blue spandex look, we were treated to a black number that made it appear Wolverine was doing some ballet work on the side. This was done because at the time the X-Men were presumed dead and this was a way to keep himself in action without giving away the fact that he was, in fact, Wolverine.

The claws were absolutely no indication of that whatsoever.

"Ignore the claws. I'm a normal guy."
Then we got a look at Wolverine's new secret identity: Patch. Looking at the character, it was fairly easy to see what Marvel was shooting for. Raiders of the Lost Ark was a pretty popular film and anyone looking like Indiana Jones was sure to be a hit. Take Marvel's most popular mutant and tie him in with one of the most popular action hero movie characters of the time and throw in a little Bogart from Casablanca...what could go wrong?

Wolverine was dropped into Madripoor, a locale created for the miniseries and the rest is history. Who would recognize this man now because he had such a convincing disguise?

But look at this and think about it. Who has perhaps the most immediately recognizable hairstyle in the comic book world? Do you see many other characters with this weird "hair everywhere" look (except maybe Beast)? Now throw in his liberal use of adamantium claws from time to time and you get this incredibly obvious "secret" identity.

Please keep in mind he was in Madripoor fighting guerillas and even the Silver Samurai, using nothing more than a fishnet for a mask and still no one figured out who he was.

The black costume died a quiet death eventually and Wolverine was back in his normal costume again, but the Patch identity has come back many times over the years to be used whenever a comic book writer saw fit.

Perhaps the most surprising thing is that this costume actually got a figure recently. It's in a two-pack set with Silver Samurai and reprints the second issue of the Wolverine comic book series. If you're a completist, you can add this to your collection of the 400 other previously-offered Wolverine figures.

Make fun of Clark Kent's glasses all you want, but at least he changed his hair style a little when he put them on. Imagine how ticked he'd be to find out all he needed to do was just throw on an eyepatch and the world would be none the wiser.


William said...

WHAT? That was supposed to be Wolverine?! I never suspected. Man, next time post a 'SPOILER ALERT' if you're going to go giving away major story reveals like that. :)

Seriously though, I never got that one either. I also actually found the book as a whole to be a bit boring and John Buscema's artwork never looked worse, IMO.

And, FYI, don't be fooled by that Patch/Silver Samurai 2-pack comic. It may have the cover of Wolverine #2, but the inside pages are a reprint of some modern day monstrosity.

Brian Reaves said...

Thanks for the heads-up about the comic book reprint in the figures. That seems like a pretty lousy marketing ploy.

Anonymous said...

When did JRJR draw patch? Don't recall that one.

Although I do so hate Wolverine, I do as certainly love JRJR.

andre said...

When did JRJR draw patch? Don't recall that one.

Although I do so hate Wolverine, I do as certainly love JRJR.

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